Developing Case Studies for Creative Professionals

I have written case studies for clients, but haven’t implemented this in my own business yet. It is definitely something I’m going to be working on in the coming months.

Why, you may ask? Because a case study, at its root, combines the all-powerful client testimonial with step-by-step details on how you attained a positive outcome. In short, once a prospect sees it, and relates to it, that could mean they contact you for business.

In writing up a case study and posting it on your website, you don’t have to do much to generate a solid lead–one that already knows a little bit about your process and is interested in what you have to offer!

The case study is essentially broken into four basic parts. Keep in mind that the case study you write for your website will likely be shorter than a case study, say, for an information technology or health care company. That’s okay because keeping it concise is a good thing. But you want to include the basic elements that make a case study what it is:

1. The Problem

This section helps the reader identify with the client you have already helped. Let’s say I was working with a client that had a gorgeous website and no content. I would talk about this empty space on their website and say how it wasn’t useful unless there was text.

2. The Solution

This aspect discusses how you came in and saved the day. Add detail about exactly how the solution met the client’s needs. For instance, if I proposed a 10-page website that gave the client a platform to discuss their corporate history, products and services, and highlight some of their media clips, that would be extremely valuable to give them a good image and drive customers to contact them, earning them sales.

3. The Implementation

Here I would discuss how we went about coming up with the outline for the pages and how I researched with their employees to derive specific content to meet the objective of each page. I would talk about how we held a conference call to discuss, and how we went back and forth electronically to handle revisions.

4. The Results

In this section, I would talk about how easy to navigate the site was, and how the simple addition of some SEO-friendly keywords helped drive more traffic to the site. I might include a quote from the client on their thoughts (hint: if the client doesn’t love your work, choose one that does for a case study!). Then I would wrap up by saying the project was a huge success and the company hired me to revamp all of their print collateral as well.

You can create a case study using your logo on the page and then simply convert it into a PDF. From there you can put it on your website,or include it as a mailing. (I know all the designers can do even more fascinating things that will be visually appealing, but it’s okay to go kind of plain with it, too!) Generally, you should have one case study to highlight each of your services–so for me, that would mean one for a website content project, maybe another to spotlight a brochure I worked on, etc.

Keep the tone professional, but conversational, and stick to under 500 words. Perhaps show it to a friend to have it proofread or look up some examples of case studies online.

This is a great way to include customer testimonials and let their positive outcome reflect on your expertise as a creative professional!

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by raywoo.

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